One of the things that the return of the old X-Factor team clearly shows is that getting the team dynamics right is vital to business success.
For several years now, businesses have delivered ‘team building’ events away from the office, using things like scavenger hunts, ropes courses and field games that are stamped with “team building” as an HR-friendly answer to organized outings away from the office. The games are backed with promises that the activities inspire teamwork and promote cohesive problem-solving skills, however in many cases they have been over-used and have proven ineffective.
‘Team Building Weekends’ are often now accompanied by a nationwide groan from employees who now associate ‘team building’with a forced insult to their education and natural abilities, so forward thinking companies have taken them to another level in order to engage staff.
Team building expert Chad Michael says:
“The most creative way to teach valuable lessons of leadership and communication is to engage employees in an unexpected activity that is carefully designed and backed by parallels to real-life situations,” said Michael. “If the team building activity does not come with lessons learned and a creative way to instill valuable skill sets, the investment no more effective than an afternoon at the park.”
As the next generation of team building experts seeks to get employees re-engaged, fortune 500 companies such as Coca Cola, Facebook and Google are delivering a whole new approach to team building, with employees looking forward to the events.
Feedback shows that the new style of games have an impact ‘in work’ as well as having fun.
A Coca Cola representative said: “Our team marketing meeting went from good to great after playing the SpyGame.”
So what is it that’s different about the next generation of team building games?
Popular activities include escape dungeons, zombie apocalypse scenarios and ‘mock’ versions of popular TV games and events using actors. These activities are not just for in-work, ‘The Logic Escapes me’ reported last year that there were nearly 100 ‘escape dungeons’ in London alone.
Michael’s company, Adventure Games offers a big selection of activities, both indoor and outdoor that have gone down well with his corporate clients.
Adventure Games experiences include a mock ‘X-Factor’ style challenge called ‘Making of the Band’, however one of his most successful events is ‘kidnapping the boss!’
The boss gets ‘kidnapped’ and the team get to stage an elaborate, twisty, espionage-filled rescue of the missing executive, which Michael says helps foster a more cohesive, committed and supportive workplace.
Other games include an ‘Apprentice’ style game, an outdoor treasure hunt called Geo-Venture, where as well as hunting for treasure, staff have to engage with actors who will offer advice, some genuine, some not so genuine, all offering a unique experience. They also offer a Spy Game for the wannabe ‘James Bond’, you can see how it works here.
The new, modern games challenge team members to use their strategic thinking and interpersonal skills to navigate through a series of assignments, whilst everyone enjoys the experience. As Michael says:
“Players choose the path they want, and — just as in life — their choices decide how well they succeed.”
His clients certainly agree:
“It was one of the most exciting and cryptic team building events we’ve ever had,” said Nikki L. from Google. “Even the most cynical & hard to impress on the team were highly engaged. Thanks to Chad and Adventure Games team for putting together an awesome experience.”